Category: Dental Hygiene

Understanding Gum Disease: Symptoms, Prevention, and When to Seek Help

Understanding Gum Disease: Symptoms, Prevention, and When to Seek Help

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common oral health issue that affects the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It can range from mild inflammation to a more severe condition that can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. This article will explore what gum disease is, its seriousness, early symptoms, when to see a dentist, and preventive measures you can take to maintain optimal oral health.

What is Gum Disease and How Serious Is It?

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth, including the gums, ligaments, and bone. It typically begins with the accumulation of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth. If not removed through regular brushing and flossing, this plaque can harden into tartar, leading to inflammation and irritation of the gums.

The seriousness of gum disease varies. In its early stage, known as gingivitis, symptoms include red, swollen gums that may bleed during brushing. Gingivitis is generally reversible with good oral hygiene practices. However, if left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease. Periodontitis can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets that become infected. Over time, it can lead to the deterioration of the bone supporting the teeth and ultimately result in tooth loss.

Early Symptoms of Gum Disease

Recognizing the early symptoms of gum disease is crucial for timely intervention. Watch out for signs such as:

  • Bleeding Gums: Gums that bleed during brushing or flossing may indicate inflammation.
  • Swollen or Red Gums: Healthy gums should be pink and firm. Swelling or redness may be a sign of irritation.
  • Persistent Bad Breath: Chronic bad breath that doesn’t improve with oral hygiene could be a sign of gum disease.
  • Gum Recession: If your teeth appear longer than before, it could be a result of receding gums.

When Should I See a Dentist?

It’s advisable to see a dentist if you notice any of the early symptoms mentioned above. Additionally, if you experience persistent pain while chewing, changes in your bite, or teeth that feel loose, seeking professional help promptly is essential. Regular dental check-ups can help catch and address gum disease in its early stages.

What Can I Do to Prevent Gum Disease?

Preventing gum disease starts with a consistent oral hygiene routine:

  • Brush and Floss Regularly: Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once a day to remove plaque.
  • Regular Dental Check-ups: Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings to detect and address issues early.
  • Healthy Lifestyle: Avoid tobacco, eat a balanced diet, and limit sugary snacks to promote overall oral health.
  • Use Antiseptic Mouthwash: An antiseptic mouthwash can help reduce plaque and bacteria.

Summary

In conclusion, gum disease is a common but preventable oral health issue. Recognising early symptoms, seeking prompt dental care, and adopting good oral hygiene practices are key to maintaining healthy gums and teeth. Remember, prevention is the best medicine, and a proactive approach to oral care will contribute to your overall well-being.

If you have any concerns be sure to contact the surgery and we can arrange you an appointment.

November 29, 2023

The Crucial Connection: Regular Good Oral Hygiene and Healthy Teeth

The Crucial Connection: Regular Good Oral Hygiene and Healthy Teeth

Maintaining good oral hygiene isn’t just about a dazzling smile; it’s a fundamental aspect of overall health. From preventing cavities to reducing the risk of serious health issues, the benefits of regular oral care extend far beyond the surface. Here we’ll discuss why making oral hygiene a daily habit is a crucial investment in your overall wellbeing.

Preventing Tooth Decay and Cavities

One of the primary reasons for practicing good oral hygiene is to ward off tooth decay and cavities. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day, coupled with regular flossing, helps remove plaque – the sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth. Plaque buildup produces acids that erode tooth enamel, leading to cavities. Consistent oral care (brushing and flossing) disrupts this process, preserving the integrity and health of your teeth.

Gum Disease Prevention

Gingivitis and periodontitis, forms of gum disease, can have serious consequences for both your oral and overall health. Regular brushing and flossing help remove plaque along the gum line, preventing the development of gum diseases. Healthy gums contribute to strong teeth, reducing the risk of tooth loss and other complications.

Fresh Breath and Confidence

Bad breath can be a result of poor oral hygiene. Regularly cleaning your teeth, tongue, and gums helps eliminate the bacteria responsible for unpleasant odours.

Preventing Systemic Health Issues

Oral health is interconnected with your overall wellbeing. Poor oral hygiene has been linked to various systemic health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory problems. By taking care of your teeth and gums, you maintain a healthier body and reduce the risk of these potentially severe conditions.

Financial Savings in the Long Run

Taking your time in applying regular oral care can result in significant financial savings. Preventive measures, such as routine dental check-ups and visits to the hygienist, are more cost-effective than treating advanced dental issues. By prioritising good oral hygiene, you not only protect your health but also your wallet!

In Summary

Regular good oral hygiene is not just a cosmetic concern; it’s a vital component of overall health. By adopting simple yet consistent oral care practices, you can safeguard your teeth, gums, and systemic health. The benefits extend beyond the immediate results – they contribute to a lifetime of confident smiles and overall wellbeing. So, make brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups an integral part of your daily routine for a brighter, healthier future.

Remember, a small investment in your oral health today can lead to a prolonged life with healthier teeth.

November 10, 2023

Elderly Oral Health Precautions & Treatments

Elderly Oral Health Precautions & Treatments

As we age we see the importance of having a healthy body. Many seem to overlook or don’t realise the importance that oral health plays in overall health. The elderly population has some particular oral health outcomes that can easily be prevented with routine care, regular check ups and preventative maintenance procedures. In this article we will discuss dexterity limitations, the importance of preventative procedures and how replacing and restoring existing teeth can not only improve your smile but your overall health as well.

Some factors that contribute to the aging population decreasing oral health situation are; gum disease, untreated tooth decay, tooth loss, oral cancer and chronic disease.

Gum disease

Gum disease is the breakdown or infection of the supportive structures around the teeth like gum tissue and bone. It is mainly caused by calculus build up and bacteria that breakdown the supportive structures. Over time plaque hardens and gets below the gum line, without a professional cleaning (which is recommended at least 2-3 times per year for healthy adults) the plaque and bacteria invades and attacks the surrounding structures and breaks them down. Left unchecked this will eventually destroy the structures so much that people will experience tooth mobility and loss. By having regularly scheduled cleanings your dental hygienist can stay up on any changes in the tissue or bone health as well as removing the toxins that contribute to gum disease.

Tooth loss

Tooth loss really has a domino effect in the mouth. Many people opt to extract that problem tooth. What they don’t realize is by extracting vs restoring the tooth, they then have set that area up for more problems. A short while after an extraction the surrounding teeth slowly tip towards the new opening in the arch and the tooth above it will hyperextend and grow into this space as well. This now puts all of these noted teeth in jeopardy. The best course of action is to make sure you restore the existing tooth and / or replace the space that has been created by the extraction with an implant, bridge or partial denture. This ensures the surrounding teeth stay nice and healthy and the function of the bite is restored so healthy foods can be eaten and nutrition stays up, which of course is so important for the elderly population.

Untreated decay

Untreated decay can wreak havoc on a person’s health really pretty quickly.

“Most think of going to the dentist as an emergency situation instead of a preventative one.”

Think of your health like your car. In order for it to run well and get you to where you need to be you have to perform scheduled maintenance, keep it filled up and make sure you are taking care of the engine with proper oil changes etc. Well, the same goes for your body, prevention is your best friend, catching a problem early saves you a ton of headache, pain and money! By making sure you get in for your routine oral health visits, addressing decay issues when they are small and making sure to brush and floss daily you are way ahead of the curve! By using these simple, inexpensive and consistent actions you really save yourself a lot of headaches. Daily oral care can be difficult for the elderly population due to issues with dexterity and not being able to floss and brush properly. Thankfully there’s a tons of aids out there to help with this! Water flossers and power brushes when used correctly are able to reach areas in the mouth traditional brushes never could. Your dental care professional is happy to sit down and find aids that can help you keep your mouth in tip top shape!

Chronic disease

Lastly, is coming to the realization that your mouth is a part of your body! I know, it’s true! Joking aside, it’s amazing how many people think of it as a separate entity though. The mouth is the gateway to the body, so by ensuring it is healthy we can really gauge the health of the rest of the body. Chronic disease and oral cancer are some things that will affect the tissues in the mouth. Dentists are trained to check all tissues and surrounding structures when you come in for your exam. Most perform an oral cancer assessment to determine your risk factor for developing diseases, cancers and precursors that are noted. Many vitamin deficiencies can also show themselves in the mouth which can help your dental professional determine if there should be a change in nutrition or vitamin supplementation to help with a patients health needs. Mainly smoking and drinking alcohol regularly will increase your oral health risk and decrease your overall health, so cutting back or stopping all together can have positive impacts both in your mouth and body as a whole!

The main thing we can take away from all this is that prevention is possible and will help set your body on course to thrive. We already exercise, eat right, rest well in order to stay healthy…. Let’s add regularly scheduled oral health maintenance to the list. If you take care of your teeth, your teeth will definitely take care of you! Make sure to contact the surgery to schedule your routine visit today!

September 3, 2021

Certain Habits Can Wreak Havoc On Your Dental Health

Certain Habits Can Wreak Havoc On Your Dental Health

We all envision a bright, white smile and it is achievable for all of us. It seems like everyone these days have a nice white smile, some may think this is unachievable for them. But guess what you can have one too! Some habits play differently into achieving that smile quicker than others. Many things we mindlessly do day in and out play a large role in this. We may smoke or consume sugary foods and drinks throughout the day. These habits have different consequences throughout the whole body, but we will focus on how they affect the dentition here. 

Smoking not only affects the tissues of the mouth negatively, it also discolours the teeth. The outer layer of the tooth structure picks up stains in the tubules or pores of the teeth when the tobacco smokes enter them. This stain builds up over time and significantly darkens the tooth structure giving it a yellowed or grey appearance. This darkening can easily be lightened with whitening procedures and products and it may even help you look younger too! There are options both short and long term that can help to lighten the colouring of the teeth after this happens.

The first option to help with lightening your tooth shade is to come in more often for your dental cleaning. Most follow the once every six months cleaning recommendation, however there is no harm in coming in more often. The dentist or hygienist will polish the teeth with a special paste to remove the surface stains. This ensures that your surrounding tissues are checked more frequently and any calculus or build up is removed ensuring increased gum health. The overall cleaning process helps to wash away any stain build up from foods or drinks, like red wine leaving a sparkling smile.

Another procedure that is available is whitening the teeth. Teeth whitening can change the shade of your teeth very dramatically in a short time period. Many use this as their go to, for an uplifting and quick refresh of their appearance! A quick appointment to have some impressions taken and a custom fitted trays fabricated just for you will start the process.  You then return to the clinic to go over instructions and receive your trays and whitening material to use at home. Most whitening products will get you 6-8 shades lighter in about 1-2 weeks. It’s nice to be able to use them in the comfort of your own home without having to visit the clinic for each and every procedure.

Another habit that may affect your teeth is consuming sugary drinks and snacks. When sugar sits on the tooth structure it acts like an acid, eating through the outer layer of the tooth. Over time this breakdown will cause decay and the need for some sort of restoration. This breakdown can cause sensitivity or even pain, so there is great benefit from trying to avoid it by making healthy choices for your consumption. Restorations needed can include fillings, which is a tooth coloured restoration that replaces the weakened tooth area with a sound material. Another procedure that will help if the decay is too large is a build up and crown. The build up is a large filling that serves as a good base for the crown. The crown goes 360 around the tooth and is a solid structure for biting and chewing. This ensures long term health of the tooth and surrounding structure for use for years or even decades to come!

The main thing to remember is prevention is always the best course of action. Consider cutting back or quitting smoking to help improve not only your smile, but your overall health. Instead of having a soda for a drink consider healthier options, free of sugar, like water. In our current society there are so many options to consider as healthy alternatives over ones that may be causing damage. Your dental professionals have a wealth of knowledge to help consul you in ways to improve not only your smile, but your overall health as well!

April 7, 2021

Proactive Steps Keep Your Smile Gleaming

Proactive Steps Keep Your Smile Gleaming

Dental hygiene is one of those things… Everyone would love straight, bright, healthy teeth and fresh breath, but after a long day; it’s the last thing anyone really wants to do. With all that is happening in our lives today, brushing and flossing are the last thing usually on people’s minds. We will review simple and easy steps that will help your smile to gleam for years to come.

When to brush and how much?

Have you ever tried to brush for the recommended two minutes? I mean just try it’s like an eternity! If you ever time yourself for the recommended two minutes of brush time, about the time of a song on the radio you may see how quickly you too may be getting through it. It is no surprise that the average brush time for adults lasts only lasts about 30 seconds. Many of the power brushes on the market are helpful because they have built in timers going off every 30 seconds as you work your way around the mouth and timing you for the full two minutes. If the manual brush is more your style you can play a song on the radio or just by splitting up the mouth into 4 areas and spending diligent time in each one will increase your overall brush time.

What about brushing technique?

Now that length has been reviewed let’s discuss technique.  Yes, I know, there actually is a technique and it is an important thing to note too. If technique is incorrect it can damage the tooth or gum tissue.  When selecting a toothbrush you always would like to select the softest bristle to use. Never hard or even medium bristle brushes, they are too harsh for your sensitive tissues and enamel. Soft is best for the general population, but if you have any gum recession, where the gum is pushed up you will want to select and extra soft bristle to stop damage from happening further. Next, is technique, place the bristle at a 45-degree angle into the gum tissue. While brushing your teeth use small circular motions working the way through all the tooth surfaces of the mouth. You should never see the bristles on your toothbrush splay out like a V that means you’re brushing too hard. These simple brushing techniques can extend the life of your teeth and prevent any gum issues or decay from happening.

The importance of flossing and interdental brushing

Many think that brushing is enough, however brushing only hits the front and back of the teeth. The areas of the teeth in between still need to be cleaned. Flossing helps to dislodge any particles in between the teeth. Also, if flossing correctly, by gently gliding the floss under each gum contact in between the teeth, you are helping to stimulate and regenerate the health of the gum tissue and keeping it nice and strong. Think of flossing as the work out for your gums, by stimulating those tiny fibers under the gum with floss you are helping to strengthen them.

Starting correct habits is an easy way to improve your smile without really doing that much more. If you feel that regular brushing and flossing isn’t helping enough, request an appointment with our Dental Hygienist. You’ll be given excellent tuition on general oral hygiene and have any build up and stains removed with our Interdental Brushing – you’ll leave the surgery feeling great!

Dentists understand the need people have to make their smile a pleasant one. A nice healthy smile is your first impression you meet the world with. Make sure you are welcoming those with your best one!

June 12, 2020